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Oath of the Outcast

(The Dragon Keep Chronicles #1)

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  68 reviews
A lost brother.
An unwilling outlaw.
A rising enemy.
An unusual alliance.

Years ago, Rhys MacDuffy was brutally cut off from his clan, stripped of his name and inheritance, and banished to the remote Dragon Keep. Perched high above the Shang Pass in the land of Alsaya, he assumed the mantle of the Mountain Baron, serving out his sentence as the overseer of the worst outlaws an
Published July 23rd 2019 by Crosshair Press
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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I've loved every book I've read from C.M. Banschbach...which means that when I tell you this is my favorite of her works so far, I'm saying this book is something very special indeed. Up until now, her stories have ranged from more magic-heavy fantasy to stories which emphasize medieval action/adventure over supernatural elements. This book lies squarely in the middle of that spectrum. Supernatural overtones combine with swordplay to form a story that features the best of both subgenres. The wor ...more
H.S.J. Williams
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing

It's my new favorite word, made known to me by the author when she was describing this book.

Give me a book full of awesome guys over kickbutt girls ANY DAY. That's just how I like it. And aside from one character, this book basically is ALL men, with fabulous brotherhood both literal and otherwise.

The only content concern I'd mention is violence, there is a lot of emphasis on torture (like our hero spends half the book getting tortured, poor dude) buuuuut the scenes are well-balanced w
Tracey Dyck
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good old swordplay, a Celtic-inspired setting, and gruff clansmen make this a great story for fantasy adventure fans!

Rhys was a lovable protagonist with a tortured past, relatable fears, and a fiercely loyal streak that never gave up on the people who mattered most to him. I love that instead of becoming a total lone wolf in exile, he built up a brotherhood of other outcasts who would never leave each other behind. (Seriously, I love brother stories.)

And speaking of brothers—Sean! As a captured
Claire Banschbach
May 20, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Author's note - I give this book a PG-13 rating for intense situations, creepy bad guys, lots of man drama... There's also a fair amount of fake cursing, so... ...more
Jenni Sauer
Aug 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars but rounding up

*flops over* What even to say about this book? It was everything I'd expect from a book by this author: brotherhood, angst, stellar character dynamics, warm fuzzies, a little bit of cackling

I'm not a fan of books with dreams, they always make me feel a little trippy, but that's a personal thing and didn't detract from the book too much.

I absolutely adored the characters (do I have a definitive ranking of how likely I'd be to accept a proposal of marriage from each? Yes.
Deborah O'Carroll
This is one of the best books I've read all year and you need it in your life--and now I need book 2 already! My love for this epic book runs so deep I don't know quite how to express it. *all the heart eyes*


I’m sitting here not sure how to form words to adequately express how much I love this absolutely awesome book. I just love it so, so much! OATH OF THE OUTCAST is, hands-down, one of the best books I’ve read all year. I have an addiction to this author’s books, and this the mos
Stargazer R. L.
I have this special goodreadsshelf that I love, but don’t get to put books on very often. It’s called “truly epic”. I knew pretty early on that Oath of the Outcast was going on there, and it did.

What I loved:

Worldbuilding. Celtic-inspired, castles, pine trees, mild fantasy, clans, and chiefs, and kings and warriors.

The themes. Brothers. Don’t give up. Brothers. God cares. Brothers. Redemption. Brothers. Facing your past. And last but not least: Brothers!

The writing is basically flawless. Fabulou
Rachael Ritchey
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if it's that I never realized how rejected I've felt before or if Rhys "The Mountain Baron" MacDuffy is just a character I can empathize with on a deep level, but I loved this book. I certainly have felt like an outsider, if not a straight up outcast, so maybe there's a little truth to both statements.

Rhys MacDuffy is no longer. His name, family, home, and past life were all stripped from him the day he was accused of murder. Through deep pain, both physical and emotional, and all
C.M. Banschbach
Oct 20, 2022 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Update 10/20/22 - the ebook versions of the series are on sale for only $0.99 on Amazon! It also looks like the hardbacks and paperbacks are discounted a little as well! If you've been waiting to snag a copy you have through 10/21! "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BJB4PQ9P ...more
Bryn Shutt
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books
Oath of the Outcast was one of my most anticipated reads for this month and I swallowed it down in two days flat.

Men. Oh yes, give me stories about the rugged, the brave and brooding. Banschbach did a superb job creating a varied, well-crafted cast of some of the most enjoyable gents this "gritty-guy stuff" lover has ever read. I would call this a story of contrasts and balances. The light in the darkness, the past with the present, hope against despair and all tied together with the bond of br
Lily - Books by Starlight
Sale alert! The hardcover of this one is on sale on Amazon right now for $14.57 :)

Stephanie -BooksLessTravelled
Rating: 4.5

I've wanted to read this series for a few months, and have seen quite a bit of praise as well as several mentions of it on my Bookstagram page. So, this month I finally got the chance to start this duology, and now I can't wait to read the sequel!

While it's of little surprise, I loved The Baron's grumpy character as well as his men, outlaws and members of The Cairn. What did surprise me is that there were a couple others who really stole their way into my love for this book, and I'm
Dec 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A million stars! C.M. Banschbach has officially become one of my favorite authors. Her writing style is epic and she told this story so well! I was on the edge of my seat so much (especially towards the end😱) and the characters have gained my undying fangirl love. Highly recommend Oath of the Outcast!

Content: lots of violence and past trauma, as well as a lot of spiritual warfare from the evil god in the world. Otherwise it’s clean book and I don’t have really any content warnings. Still recomme
Madisyn Carlin
Apr 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
For every author there is a book they wish they'd been the one to write. For the most part, Oath of the Outcast is that book for me.


Hookay. Rhys "The Baron", a.k.a. Sir Grumpypants (my nickname for him) MacDuffy really is the best part. He's a wounded soul with trust issues who only wants to be left alone after enduring staggering betrayal and loss. He's also a stubborn rascal who will to anything to rescue the ones he loves. Rhys is the perfect male character and is so well-written. H
Selina Gonzalez
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reread: Enjoyed even more the second time!
Original review:
A solid story with promising characters and lots of potential for the rest of the sequel.

As expected, Rhys was the kind of wounded, tragic, gruff exterior with a heart of gold character I like. Although, for all the to-do about how changed he was by the war, there was a time or two I was confused by how his seeming preference to incapacitate over kill. ("He's the hero, Selina you absolute walnut." What can I say, I'm a pragmatist and m
Mary Emma Sivils
Oct 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Certainly not a happy story, and somewhat dark in its subject matter, but Oath of the Outcast kept me interested from the first page to the last! The highlight, for me, was the characters—especially Rhys, aka “The Baron”. I have a little weakness for the characters who persevere no matter how much hardship comes their way. And he’s had more than his fair share, poor guy! His bond with his brother was heartwarming...and heartbreaking.
Speaking of his brother, the Seer's abilities fascinated me. I'
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“Lord Adam better beware. Alister and his druids too. The past was coming with a face that promised vengeance.” 🏔Oath of the Outcast by CM Banschbach 🏔

Oh this book.

Where do I even start? From the first page, I was captivated by what drove the Baron (aka Rhys) from his mountain home down into the highlands and clans of what used to be his people. His gruff manner hides a heart that was greatly wounded. His sass and glare are hilarious.

I love the brother aspect of this story too. Normally, bo
Abigayle Claire
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book
Really enjoyed the adventure, intrigue, broodiness, and camaraderie. It felt like Robin Hood meets Merlin ... (with a dash of Outlander). It's got some great characters, and I'm looking forward to seeing them again in the sequel! ...more
Verity Buchanan
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how to describe what this book did to me.

My feelings are divided into two odd camps, and I'll attempt to express them both with due care.

To begin with, this book felt like an indulgence read, in the best and oddest imaginable way. For the past nine years, my closest sister and I have squandered our free time by telling collaborative, entirely impromptu stories (I'm going somewhere with this, I promise). These stories, told aloud, on the fly, incorporated a fairly standard cast of ch
Bethany Kellam
I really don't know what to say.

This book made me isolate myself from my family for about two days. It was difficult, since I'm on vacation at the moment, but I did it. It was worth it.

I can't remember the last time a book had me hooked within the first few chapters. Also this book has Scottish ties and as someone who's fascinated by that culture, it was fun to read.

(Although, apparently in real life, Scots never had a specific plaid associated with each clan. I learned that while in Scotland.
FTC Disclosure: I won this book in a giveaway from the author about 2 years ago. I was not asked or required to give a review, positive or negative.

I'll be honest, my entry into said giveaway a little impulsive. The book's description sounded interesting, but I hadn't read this author before to know if I would like her work or not. I was also a little nervous when I finally opened the book and saw that it's labeled new adult, because I rated the last new adult book that I read with two stars due
M.H. Elrich
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. I will give this book a full review later, but for now...it's awesome! ...more
Cheyenne Langevelde
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspired by Scottish and Welsh legend and folklore, Claire has succeeded in weaving a riveting fantasy filled with magic, betrayal, promises, brotherhood, and adventures beyond imagination. Characters with hidden pasts come to life, bringing with them their hurt and pain, wanting healing. Witty phrases lighten the mood, but who knows what Lord Adam Berkley has next up his sleeve for Rhys MacDuffy--or his brother and Seer, Sean. 

I personally loved Sean and Alan the moment they appeared on the sce
Michelle Bruhn
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from the Scottish-inspired world-building, to the multi-layered characters, to the very real dangers said characters faced! I loved Sean's combination of strength and a soft heart, Alan's snark and divided loyalties, Jes' cool-headedness in the midst of the more hot-headed members of the Dragon Keep, and, of course, The Baron/Rhys himself with all his strength, determination, and badassery. And his well-deserved angst that made me want to give him a hug (I refrained, though—I'd ...more
Joseph Leskey
RTC, hopefully. Here's a summary review as a placeholder:

Read this thing. It's pretty fabulous.
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Brother or not, outcast or not, the only way left was forward.

Hi, I'm on an emotional roller coaster from this book. I really didn't know what I was walking into, other than that several of my friends really, really liked it. I can see why.

I love a good old fashioned adventure story, one that takes me back to my childhood and lets me escape into someone else's problems for a bit. Especially one with an interesting world to wander around in. This was exactly that - and I knew it from the first
R.J. Rodda
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Rhys has been made an outcast by the people he once loved and trusted. Yet when he hears his brother has been captured, he finds himself going to the rescue, with an unwelcome former friend beside him. I liked this and I'm looking forward to the next book. ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent story and characters. I'm not head-over-heels for it, but I would definitely reread it and will be looking forward to the next book. For some reason, I got a low-key sort of grown-up Ranger's Apprentice vibe from . . . something? Maybe the character dynamics? Maybe it's just that one of the characters uses a recurve bow and all of the characters are sarcastic and there's a predominance of male characters? IDK. I enjoyed it, though. ...more
Beth Wangler
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brothers who love each other no matter what is my new favorite book relationship. I've been looking forward to reading Oath of the Outcast since before it came out, and it was wonderful. I am eager to read Blood of the Seer when it comes out! ...more
Addison Dixon
Apr 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I really like the "band of brothers" idea. The setting details and character development is very good. Some of the violence is a little descriptive, so I had to skim over it. Otherwise, the history and storyline are awesome. ...more
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C.M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent Hobbit if she weren’t so tall. She’s a pizza addict, a multi-faceted fangirl, and a firm believer in being authentic—even if it means acting like a dork sometimes! When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric physical therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually h ...more

Other books in the series

The Dragon Keep Chronicles (2 books)
  • Blood of the Seer (The Dragon Keep Chronicles, #2)

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“What’s life like in the mountains?”
“Why would you care?” Rhys snapped.
“I’m wondering if everyone there is as grim as you. Two weeks is a long time. Are you ever going to smile?”
“Are you going to keep asking stupid questions?”
“On a regular basis.”
“The Baron scowled.
That particular expression appeared on his face more than any other. Alan decided that it must be the Baron’s equivalent of a smile--and even if that weren’t the case, Alan would believe it anyway.”
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